Blackfoot Rest Area

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The boys and I are on the move. For the next three or four weeks we are traveling around southern Utah and northern Arizona. I won’t tell you where we are until after we’ve left, and I’m sure our Internet access will be spotty (I hope!), but you can follow behind us here, on Facebook or on Instagram @TravelingMelMT.

(If you are really into this trip — hi mom!– Instagram and Facebook are your best bets as that’s where I post most often.)

I don’t normally write about rest stops, but the Blackfoot Rest Area on I-15 is one of my favorites. Not only are the bathrooms clean and the drinking fountain water cold, there is a paved interpretive trail that leads into an old lava flow.

Actually, there are two trail choices, a 0.25-mile trail, and a steeper 0.50-mile option. We chose the longer path, stopped to read every interpretive sign, climbed into cracks and collapsed areas, hopped over cacti, and marveled over being able to wear short sleeve shirts. If you travel with people who have a lot of energy and like to climb on everything, this is your stop. If you are one of those people, this is your stop.

Unless it’s really hot or windy. In that case, keep on trucking.

Henry and Finn have been talking about plate tectonics, so this was a great place to expand on that. This area of Idaho used to be over the magma plume that now heats Yellowstone National Park’s hot springs, geysers, mud pots, and fumeroles. The plume, or hot spot, is responsible for the Yellowstone volcano thats been in the news lately.

Prior to our continent moving southwest, the Blackfoot Rest Area was above the magma plume. Magma was pushed to the Earth’s surface through cracks and fissures before cooling into basalt lava. We learned a lot about this on our trip to Craters of the Moon a couple years ago, but I am the only one who really remembers that outing. (Anders is wearing clothes in those pictures that now barely fit Finn. Excuse my mommy moment, but geez, where does the time go?)

If that wasn’t enough to lure you to the rest stop, there is also a big grass hill that no one can resist rolling down. I was too bust rolling to take photos, so you’ll have to check it out yourself.

Plan Your Own Trip

What: Blackfoot Rest Area
Why: Clean bathrooms, water, paved trail through lava
Where: Near mile marker 101 on I-15 between Idaho Falls and Pocatello. There are rest areas on both sides of the highway. I’ve always stopped at the southbound stop, but they are probably the same.
Who: Anyone who needs to get out of the car. Both trails are paved for wheelchairs and strollers, and the 0.25 mile path is fairly flat.

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